Japan executes the murderer of 7 people in Tokyo in 2008
Sylvie Claire / July 26, 2022
A 39-year-old Japanese man sentenced to death for killing seven people in the streets of Akihabara, Tokyo's electronics district, in June 2008 has been executed, local media including public broadcaster NHK announced Tuesday.
Tomohiro Kato, 25 years old at the time, drove a truck into passers-by in broad daylight before getting out of the vehicle and stabbing random people in the crowd with a double-edged blade, killing seven and injuring ten.
Contacted by AFP, the Ministry of Justice was not able to confirm his execution immediately.
The death sentence had been upheld by the Court of Appeals in September 2012 after a trial verdict in March 2011, and Japan's Supreme Court rejected Mr. Kato's appeal in 2015, making the sentence final.
The convict, at the time a temporary worker at an auto parts factory in a small town in central Japan, had learned shortly before the massacre that his contract would end in June 2008.
Housed by his employer, he was also about to lose his apartment and had confided on the internet that he was afraid of becoming homeless.
During a hearing, Tomohiro Kato had also explained that he committed this crime because of criticism he had received on the Internet.
After the massacre, the Japanese authorities banned the possession of double-edged daggers with blades longer than 5.5 centimeters.
This is the first application of the death penalty in Japan since last December, when three people sentenced to death for murder were executed by hanging on the same day.
Japan is, along with the United States, one of the last industrialized and democratic countries to still use the death penalty, a sentence widely supported by the Japanese public.